Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 1851-1858
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1383
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
The unemployment crisis is a major problem in many countries and particularly in Spain. However for some time now the managerial sector has had serious difficulties in recruiting university graduates to satisfy its demands for talent due to their shortcomings in soft –or social– skills. Social skills include problem-solving abilities, teamwork, leadership, creativity and empathy, all essential for successfully integrating in today’s labour market. Training in this type of skills should be encouraged from pre-university stages, although they have until now been poorly represented in most secondary-education curricula.

This communication describes a preliminary approach to the study of the relationship between mastery in this type of skills by secondary-school students in different courses and their university preferences. We analysed the level of creativity, teamwork and problem-solving skills in a sample of students from seven secondary schools in the Region of Madrid.

The method used in this research to assess these competences is the statistical analysis of student responses to specific questionnaires. Psychometric tests on paper and online from the eCompetentis project were applied and validated in Spanish to assess teamwork and problem-solving skills. To measure creativity we used TestMyCreativity, an online open access test developed by company recruiters.

The main results suggest that secondary-school students have a good perception of teamwork, medium to high capacity for problem solving, and relatively high creative skills. There are minor differences between students depending on the pre-university course selected. For example, students who choose the technology option are somewhat less creative, and particularly demonstrate lower scores than their peers for curiosity and boldness. They are also more individualistic, and may be better leaders, and thus the perception of their teamwork ability is slightly lower than students in other specialities. They have medium to high problem-solving skills, and are notably systematic although also somewhat impulsive, with average levels of confidence and strategy.

In this first approach the acquisition of these skills appears to produce a different outcome on the students’ profiles; however, these do not correlate to the type of course chosen by the student or to any other sociodemographic variable studied. It would therefore be interesting to extend the study sample and continue research into more diverse and numerous groups of secondary-school students.
Creativity, Teamwork, Problem Solving, Generic Skills, Secondary-School.